Once you have completed your training and got that all important TEFL certificate in your back pocket, it is time to start applying for jobs and sending off your CV/resume. Of course, simply sending a resume to a potential employer is not much use without an accompanying cover letter to go with it. Your cover letter is the perfect tool for you to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and the reasons why you think you are the best candidate. So what exactly should you put in your TEFL cover letter?
Make it unique to the position on offer
Although it might be quicker and easier to use the same cover letter for every job you apply for, tailoring each letter to each specific job will generally reap better rewards. It is highly recommended that you do plenty of research into each employer to give each application a personal feel and the impression that you are deadly serious about securing the position. You should also try to find out the name of the person handling the recruitment as this will allow you to personalize your letter and hopefully get their attention right from the start. If this information is not available, simply go with Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Hiring Manager as suitable alternatives.
Focus on your personal qualities and not just qualifications
One important thing to remember is that your cover letter is not the place to simply rehash the information already included in your CV/resume. Within your resume you will have stated all your qualifications in some detail, so rather than repeating the same information, use your cover letter to focus on other things that make you a strong candidate for the job. If you are applying for your first English teaching job you might want to mention some of the skills you have gained from your TEFL training. Any experience you have with children, giving presentations, or providing any form of training are all definitely worth mentioning.
Keep it brief, neat, and professional
Your cover letter should be kept brief and to the point (covering no more than one side of A4) to ensure the reader doesn’t lose interest before getting to the end. A cover letter needs to be waffle free and should not simply be a condensed form of your CV/resume. It should always be typed out in a clear font, without any additional and unnecessary bells and whistles. Of course, you should make sure it is proofread properly and contains no typos or grammar mistakes as these are unlikely to go down well when applying for an English teaching position.
Be yourself and include all the necessary contact details
As each employer is likely to have to go through many application forms, it is a good idea to inject some of your own unique personality into your letter. If your cover letter comes across as dull and impersonal, you are unlikely to make much of an impression. It might sound quite obvious, but it is also vital that you provide all the relevant contact details at the top of your letter. These should include a telephone number, email, and online video contacts, such as Skype, Zoom etc.
How to layout your cover letter
Essentially, your letter should have three areas, an opening paragraph, a middle section, and a final paragraph, all on one page. The opening section should be a brief paragraph where you highlight why you are writing the letter, the specific job you are applying for, and where you came across the job advert.
The middle section is where you cover all the most important information in two or three clear and concise paragraphs. Here you might want to mention why you want to work for the specific company and in the country/city where it is based. Why you think you are ideally suited to the position and what skills and positive traits you will bring to the role. Basically, you need to sell yourself without telling any untruths.
Finally, you should end the letter with a short paragraph that once again highlights your desire to land the role and why you think you are the best candidate for the job. You can also add details about when you are available for interviews and when you would be able to start. Sign off by thanking the reader and stating that you look forward to their response.